Category: Alliances & Relationships

Five Business Reasons Why Developers and Software Ecosystems Benefit from KVM

By: Peter Fuller, Vice President of Business Development and Alliances, Scale Computing

As the VP of Business Development and Alliances for Open Virtual Alliance Member Scale Computing, I work with a diverse group of top players in the software ecosystem. While many have KVM compatible products as full virtual appliances, others are building business cases to justify the minor engineering expense required to develop KVM-compatible versions of their VMware, Citrix or Hyper-V solutions.

This KVM question has isochronously emerged as a discussion point with my business development peers this year. It is not a hard apologetic to form since KVM support is: 1) adopted, 2) supported and crowd sourced, 3) independent, 4) a quickly profitable engineering exercise and 5) freely available.

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits:

(1) KVM is Adopted & Mature

KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) works in the Linux kernel as an open source, free component for Linux on x86 hardware that contains Intel VT or AMD-V extensions. With KVM, multiple unmodified Linux or Windows images can run as virtual machines on a single processor.

KVM is growing at 60% year over year in terms of new server shipments virtualized, with over 100,000 shipments and nonpaid deployments worldwide over the past 12 quarters.1 The worldwide virtual-machine software market was on track to grow to over $3.6 billion in 2012, up from $3.0 billion the year before, a 19.3% year-over-year growth.2

KVM is also the standard for OpenStack. In fact, 71% of OpenStack deployments use KVM.

The technology is also very mature. According to CloudPro, KVM held the top 7 SPECVirt benchmarks, outperforming VMware across 2, 4 and 8 socket servers. As CloudPro mentions, it is very rare that an open source solutions meets so many commercial specifications.3

(2) KVM is Supported & Crowd Sourced

Both IBM and Red Hat announced significant investments in KVM. Unlike VMware, the many results of those investments won’t be locked behind intellectual property laws. The companies are contributing much of its KVM development to the open source community.

This investment was important for Scale, not because we use Red Hat branches of KVM, but because it will undoubtedly attract publishers into the technology and legitimized it as an enterprise-class hypervisor.

The growing ecosystem of KVM supporters is proof. The OVA has over 300 members of software ad hardware vendors, and continues to add to its ranks daily. This collective pool of companies contributes code back to the community, allowing each company indirect access to each other’s open development initiatives. Hundreds of thousands of non-member Linux developers also add to the crowd-sourced technologies that companies like Scale can use. Additionally, the Linux Foundation recently announced that the OVA would become an official collaborative project.

Ecosystem developers benefit from this crowd-sourced adoption of KVM in ways they can’t leverage with commercial solutions like VMware. For starters, commercial virtualization solutions are

(3) KVM is Independent & Adaptive

The independence of KVM contributes to fecundity of its code. Hundreds of thousands of Linux developers around the world develop technologies for Linux and KVM—without restrictions associated with corporate IP protection.

While the permanency of any company is in continual state of ambiguity, corporations are far more labile than un-owned open source code. KVM will be around forever; there’s little risk supporting it.

The biggest challenges to the viability of some hypervisor providers are the open source headwinds wreaking havoc on their financial models. Specialized vendors like VMware don’t have the product diversity outside of their hypervisor that cushion companies like Microsoft and Citrix. As the hypervisor becomes a commodity, revenues are made on the management tools and licensed annually. This stress already pushed VMware to compete with its partners. Just this year, the company released a V-SAN product in direct completion to Nutanix and Simplivity.

(4) KVM is Easily Convertible & Supporting it is Profitable

I like to use a basic supply and demand argument support KVM development: while there’s an infinite supply of a vendor’s code, there will always be a finite supply of a customer’s cash.

To save that finite cash pool, roughly 70 percent of corporations use KVM as a secondary hypervisor to avoid licensing costs for non-production virtual machines. This install base represents a huge market that is quickly migrating KVM to the primary position in order to reduce recurring licensing costs.

Converting is Easy

In most cases, converting from a mainstream hypervisor to KVM is relatively simple. In fact, one of our alliance partners added KVM support to its robust backup software in just a week. The conversion from VMDK to QCOW2 (KVM) is fairly straightforward.

(5) The Hypervisor is a Commodity, Why Pay for It?

Hypervisors are a commodity. With Intel’s VT and AMD’s V chipset, KVM calls directly into the virtualization stack provided by those manufacturers at the chip level. There’s no need to pay license charges for solutions that use software to perform the virtualization tasks Intel and AMD provide in the hardware. A light kernel-based piece of code calling directly into the processor greatly increases the speed and efficiency of the virtualization experience. Additionally, since both Intel and AMD are committed to open technologies and the leverage publishers will get from these two companies is significant.

Conclusion

For ecosystem developers, the value extracted from the community translates into engineering efficiencies, faster feature development and flexibility, potentially millions of dollars in savings on engineering costs, and the ability to maintain price elasticity in a highly competitive ecosystem.

KVM has a large install base, major investors, commercial momentum and crowd-sourced development momentum. Spending a few weeks to add KVM support to existing applications will open new markets for developers while opening the door to new found capital efficiencies and faster development times.

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1IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Virtualization Tracker, March 2013

2Worldwide Virtual Machine Software 2012-2016 Forecast, IDC #235379, June 2012

3 http://www.cloudpro.co.uk/iaas/virtualization/5278/kvm-should-it-be-ignored-hypervisor-alternative/page/0/1

What Da Ali G Show Can Teach Us About How We Can Work With Our Global Customers

Every time I go to the UK, I watch an episode of the old Da Ali G Show on my laptop.  Sacha Baron Cohen (AKA Borat) is one of my favorite British comedians, and I usually laugh out loud on the airplane with my Scale Computing HC3 Beats by Dre headphones on.  More on what we can learn from this later.

I was recently in London on business, and over the course of the week we met with a number of Scale Computing’s EMEA customers, current and new resellers, and UK based press.  It was a fantastic week in which we celebrated the first “birthday” of our groundbreaking and industry-leading platform HC3.  We celebrated going from a standing start to over 700(!) HC3 customer implementations in the year since HC3’s release.  In addition, we had 50% gains in implemented appliance nodes and new customers in our EMEA market.  Clearly HC3 and hyperconvergence are quickly gaining momentum in EMEA.

We had customers and partners from UK, France and South Africa and guests from Poland and even Lithuania come join us in celebrating the success of HC3.  At our Birthday Celebration we had two UK customers testify as to how Scale and HC3 had changed their way of doing things.  Leonard Powers (watch the video!) from Safran Power UK, a major manufacturer of aircraft electrical generation systems, spoke of how he needed virtualization to help Safran simplify their IT infrastructure and applications.  Leonard spoke of how he evaluated HP and Dell solutions, along with VMware, and instead chose Scale over all those major vendors.  He also spoke of how the French parent company’s IT staff were amazed at how easy it was to create VM’s, move and manage them from the single pane-of-glass console of HC3, and how no special training was needed.  Everyone at Safran was pleasantly surprised when they realized there are NO LICENSE FEES to pay to Scale, ever.  Leonard told his colleagues we weren’t VMware, we are BETTER. Continue reading

Good News for SMBs: IBM Tosses $1 Billion into Linux

In what could be one of the greatest trade show giveaways in history, IBM is expected to announce this week a $1 billion Linux investment at LinuxCon in New Orleans.

Big blue, one of Scale’s strategic partners, has had a rough go of the server market lately, but that’s nothing money and good strategy can’t cure. The company will be pushing its PowerLinux line of servers and hoping to give Linux developers a serious alternative to the x86 platform (namely Intel). Its Linux investment flows into KVM, where they hope to start taking a bite out of VMware’s hide. The vast majority of OpenStack deployments–71 percent–use KVM as the hypervisor.

In other words, the company is quietly gunning for VMware and Intel (while also being a partner to both companies).

This push for open source alternatives by the industry’s only centenarian tech giant is good news for the SMB.

Linux and KVM provide a wide range of development and product possibilities that proprietary systems like VMware work very hard to limit. More financing by industry luminaries like IBM will translate into greater technological development that, in turn, creates reduced cost structures for the SMB.

Already, VMware’s licensing costs look like a business model from the dark ages. Because Scale uses KVM, it is able to eliminate entirely license costs imposed by VMware, which helps reduce virtualization TCO by nearly 67%.

Feel free to read more about IBM’s early holiday gift to the Linux World: http://bit.ly/19bs9FF

 

Scale Computing and DoubleTake

Today we’re announcing that we’ve entered into a partnership with Vision Solutions DoubleTake. This has got me excited for several different reasons. In meeting with our customers, it becomes more evident that there is still a great deal of physical environments that need to be virtualized. Despite recent data, there are still a large number of organizations that are running on physical servers. The complexity around moving from physical to virtual (P2V) is still a reality, and some businesses can’t afford the downtime or risks around moving, or simply don’t have the skills or resources. Continue reading

Scale Computing and DoubleTake: Why we’re good together

Scale has recently announced our partnership with Vision Solutions (Double-Take) to offer our customers a unique set of tools designed to answer a few key questions that users face when moving to a virtualized environment:

  1. How do I migrate my existing workloads to HC3?
  2. What Disaster Recovery strategy should I deploy for low Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and low Recovery Point Objective (RPO) workloads? Continue reading

Acronis Gives you Highly Accessible Data on Scale’s Highly Available Hyperconverged Platform

We just announced a relationship with Acronis. The company is a fast-growing backup and recovery company with tens of thousands of customers around the planet. We partnered with them because they offered an advanced feature set for virtualization that complimented the snapshot and recovery features inherent in HC3.

One of the most important reasons we partnered with Acronis wasn’t just their solid technology; we like their long-term vision. The company is moving quickly to be a purveyor of data high accessibility. I’m sure you’ve heard that HA means high availability. With the Acronis and Scale Computing combination, it means both. Continue reading

Scale Computing Adds Vision Solutions to Alliance Program; Partnership Enchances Functionaility of the HC3™ Hyperconverged Platform

Today, Scale Computing has announced that Vision Solutions has joined our Alliance Program. The partnership will enhance the functionality of the HC3™ hyperconverged platform with remote failover and decreased downtime of physical to virtual migrations. Vision Solutions is the third technology partner to join Scale’s Alliance Program in the past few months. Scale continues to build and strengthen the  ecosystem of top application providers that our VARs and customers can trust for quality, value-added features that are simple to use and easy to purchase. Look for more alliance partnerships as HC3 continues to gain momentum in the virtualization market. Visit our alliances page on the website to learn more. Continue reading

Don’t Believe Them – Scale Computing’s HC3 is not a cheaper solution that is less capable

I have heard something out in the market a few times lately, something that really bothers me. What I’ve heard is a new way for our competitors to try to marginalize us with our customers. It goes something like this:  “Scale is a great solution if you don’t have much budget for virtualization. But if you do have the budget, you should go for the ‘premium solution’ from the name brand vendors.” I.e. traditional servers + SAN + storage switching + virtualization software suite. We usually hear HP, Dell, IBM or even Cisco servers along with EMC, Netapp, or other storage along with VMware. Continue reading

Are You Ready to TappIN?

I’m at RSA, the premiere security show of the year. It’s held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Air is cold, streets are crowed with lanyard-wearing men and women shuffling back and forth between hotels, meetings, conferences and the trade show floor. It’s awesome.

I’d estimate that 75 percent of the people walking by aren’t looking at the road ahead, but the miles of email or messaging below on their mobile device that’s glued to their hands. Obviously, I too, am looking at such a device. Call me a hypocrite. Continue reading

StorageCraft Helps “Rap” Your Physical Machines onto HC3

Virtualization is a hot topic in the SMB sector and I’m glad that we’ve been able to partner with StorageCraft. The company provides a unique time-based tool to help move physical machines into the virtual world. Called the StorageCraft Shadow Protect IT Edition, the product comes on a USB key and siphons all necessary files from your physical servers and makes them ready for deployment onto the HC3 platform. Continue reading

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